Last year, The Arkansas legislature amended Arkansas code 6-10-127 to include an alternative provision for making up missed days of instruction due to inclement weather. The amendment states:
The Commissioner of Education may grant up to the equivalent of ten (10) student attendance days for public school districts that have an alternative instruction plan approved by the commissioner for the use of alternative means of instruction, including without limitation virtual learning, on days when the public school district is closed due to exceptional or emergency circumstances such as:
- A contagious disease outbreak, inclement weather, or other acts of God; or
- A utility outage
The Heber Springs School District has been approved for 5 Alternative Means of Instruction (AMI) days. Our current calendar includes 5 scheduled makeup days- February 18, April 19, May 22, May 23, and May 24th. For this school year, our district will implement AMI makeup days beginning with the third day missed. If we miss two school days due to inclement weather or other qualifying factors, we will utilize the scheduled make up days. If we miss additional days of school, those days will be made up through AMI.
Teachers in each building are in the process of developing meaningful assignments to be used for AMI makeup days. While much of the content will be accessed through technology, paper copies may be provided to students who do not have technology at home. In addition, on AMI makeup days, teachers will be available through email, social media, or other means determined by the teacher, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. on AMI days to address any student’s questions.
We understand that other things may come up on a snow day. So, students will have at least 5 days, starting from the first day school is back in session, to complete the assignment. If more than one day is missed, the amount of time to complete the assignment may be adjusted. In order for the student to be counted as “present” for the snow day, the AMI assignment must be completed.
We feel like this is a reasonable way to make the best use of our instructional days. Our intent is to utilize AMI makeup days only when a significant amount of instructional days (3 or more) have been missed. Remember, the first two days missed will be made up by adding instructional days as indicated in the board approved school calendar. The third missed day, and any subsequent days missed, will be made up through AMI.
This is an opportunity provided to Arkansas school districts. As with any new opportunity, we will learn through implementation how to improve this in the future. We appreciate your patience and support as we continue to do what is best for kids.
For the kids,
Dr. Alan Stauffacher, Superintendent
Heber Springs School District